First, we roto-tilled with a rented tiller. It's worth the rental fee to save several days of backbreaking work. By the way, we - as in Erik - roto-tilled.
Then I marked off with a stick in the dirt, and a rope, the area where we wanted the walkway and patio to go, and Erik and I together used our feet to stomp down the dirt. Then rake it even, then stomp again, etc, till we achieved this.
Erik's dad, Bill, loaned us a concrete mixer, and his expertise to help us mix and color quikrete into a brick pattern, and mold it right where we wanted it. It looked like piles of sloppy joe before we (I actually helped a lot with this part) troweled it into the stamp and smoothed it out. This took about three (short) days of work.
Erik and Bill finished the job of laying the brick/concrete while I was visiting Annie and Beau, and their new baby Dustin for a couple of days in San Jose. (I am so lucky!) Then, Erik swept dry mortar into the gaps, and sprayed it down to solidify it.
Erik and I enjoyed a lovely father's day coffee at the tulip table (he picked it out) under the beautiful pergola he made for my wisteria to climb on (isn't he great?). Elliot miraculously slept in till almost 10:00 - a father's day miracle.
So, the thing is pretty strong. Here's Erik displaying the endurance of his craftsmanship. Not bad for a first time pergola builder! What the heck is on his shirt, anyway? It looks like it says, Amy.... who is this Amy?! Just kidding.
So, I can't believe I'm blogging with a picture of me in my Dr. Seuss bathrobe, but I am. Here I am enjoying my morning coffee. The part of the slab that goes toward our house will lead to a sliding glass door (yet to be framed in and installed) into our bedroom. The slab you see at the bottom of the picture is so that the gate (yet to be built) will be able to swing out without any obstructions. Just picture it full of lovely drought tolerant, yet aroma-therapeutic plants with mostly blue, purple, and white flowers, and you have Erik's vision for this garden. It's been so nice that Erik has an opinion about this part of the yard. He wants it to be a peaceful place for he and I to retreat to and have our morning coffee, so everything about it has to be relaxing, and smell good. Erik worked so hard to get this work done before he left, and I am so proud and appreciative of him. Now I get to do the fun part - planting!